Donatos Pizza, the fast casual pizza chain famous for its Edge to Edge toppings, is ready to open more locations across the state of Tennessee and continues to push forward with expansion plans for its widening fan base. The premier pizza chain is eyeing key metro areas including Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis. The announcement comes at a time when Donatos is experiencing more demand than ever for its craveable premium pizza.
Donatos currently has two locations in Tennessee located in Nashville and Murfreesboro along with nearby restaurants in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Huntsville, Alabama. The premium pizza chain is looking for 6 to 10 multi-unit operators across the state to help in the expansion effort. Donatos plans to open the first of three locations in the Knoxville area by the end of summer, with opportunity for over 20 additional locations statewide in the future.
“We already have a great fan base across the state of Tennessee who want to experience our Edge to Edge pizza within their communities,” says Jeff Baldwin, Vice President of Development & Franchising for Donatos. “We have had great success in Nashville and Murfreesboro and we are thrilled to deliver Donatos premium pizza to the rest of Tennessee.”
Donatos was founded in 1963 when Ohio State sophomore Jim Grote bought a small pizza shop in Columbus, Ohio from a young seminarian for $1,300. The company was classified “Best in Class” and acquired by McDonald’s Corporation in 1999, at a time when the fast food giant was extending its reach beyond burgers. A few years later when McDonald’s was looking to get out of the pizza business, Grote and his daughter, Jane Abell, bought back the company in 2003.
For those with experience looking to bring a proven concept to their community, consider opening a restaurant offering pizza like no other in the state. Including a franchise fee of $30,000, the initial investment to own and operate a Donatos restaurant ranges from $360,360 to $697,400. The average store is 1,700-2,200 square feet and employs roughly 30 primarily part-time people. The average volume nationwide, per store, exceeds $1.14 million.
The Tennessee expansion announcement comes at a time when Donatos continues to expand its national footprint. Today, Donatos is served in 308 locations including in 168 traditional Donatos restaurants in 20 states, and its products are proudly served in 10 sports and entertainment venues. Additionally, Donatos Pizza and Red Robin partnered two years ago to bring a scaled-down Donatos pizza menu alongside Red Robin’s signature burgers in a handful of Red Robin restaurants. The two franchises have expanded plans and today, that partnership includes 130 Red Robin locations with plans to have Donatos pizza served in over 200 locations by the end of 2021.